TV

Broken Skull Challenge: Cystic Fibrosis Isn’t Stopping this Athlete

Recent Contestant Dustin Shares His Story of Perseverance and Hope

Dustin, Broken Skull Challenge (Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT) contestant and former prison guard, knows the meaning of tough. He lives by the quote, “Don’t judge a book by its cover. I’m the real deal.” We had a chance to speak with him about how he’s overcome the challenges of living with cystic fibrosis since he was a child.

When did you decide to share your story?

This last year, I sat down with my dad. I said, “I think it’s time I come out with it and show other people that there’s hope.” If you go to YouTube and type in “cystic fibrosis,” there are a lot of sad stories. It’s hard to watch. But there really are stories of hope out there, like mine.

At what point did you know you were going to charge forward no matter what came your way?

When I was 12 years old, I got really sick. My doctor looked at me and said, “You have spinal meningitis.” On the third week in the hospital, things weren’t looking so good. At that moment, my dad turned to me and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told him, I wanted to be a pro wrestler. And the next day, I started to improve. From then on, I decided to do everything I could to pursue a wrestling career.

How has living with cystic fibrosis made you a stronger person?

Knowing I had cystic fibrosis has actually helped me overcome things because I never wanted to be the kid that was left out. I wanted to be right up there with everyone. As a child, I played with IVs in my arms, and no one could really tell because I would keep a bandage on it.

I’ve worked hard to get to where I’m at physically. Surprisingly, I found the more you work your lungs, the more lung function you get. I haven’t experienced symptoms since I was 21 years old.

Any advice for those out there with cystic fibrosis that want to accomplish physical greatness?

It’s simple: You can’t let things in life bring you down, no matter what it is.

What do you want to accomplish next in your career?

I want to go further in wrestling entertainment, like the WWE. I think it would be great and another place to share my story. I want to be successful and use that success as a platform to talk about cystic fibrosis.

I also plan to do the Broken Skull Challenge next season. This season, physically, I was right there. My determination to win was pretty strong. As far as the challenges go, I’m kind of a bigger guy, so my endurance wasn’t there. Since the show, I’ve been working on my cardio. When I do this again, I’ll be even more prepared.

Connect with Dustin on his Facebook Page, @DustinRaynor or by email, dustinraynor@gmail.com.

Meet other inspirational athletes every Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT. And for exclusive Broken Skull Challenge outtakes, photos and more, visit CMT.com and download the CMT App. Fans can also join the conversation on the series’ official Facebook page and follow @CMT on Twitter and Instagram using #BrokenSkullChallenge.

Writer and producer for CMT.com. Lives in Los Angeles and once glued herself to the TV.